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Over 80,000 Iranian pilgrims to perform Haj: Saudi Arabia

A picture taken on September 9, 2016 shows a general view of Muslim pilgrims from all around the world circling around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, in the Saudi city of Mecca. The annual Hajj pilgrimage begins on September 10, and more than a million Muslims have already flocked to Saudi Arabia in preparation for what will for many be the highlight of their spiritual lives. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has announced that 83,828 Iranian pilgrims will perform Haj this season after Iran boycotted the religious ritual last year.

Minister of Haj, Omra Dr Mohammed Benton, made the announcement when inspecting the headquarters of Haj contractors of Iranian pilgrims, Xinhua news agency cited Okaz local news as saying on Thursday.

The visit is part of a series of similar visits to other contractors to ensure the best services for foreign pilgrims. In March, Saudi Arabia announced the finalisation of the required steps for the participation of Iranian pilgrims in the upcoming Haj season.

Iran boycotted the last Haj season over rifts between the two countries mainly due to the death of Iranian pilgrims in a stampede in Mina area during 2015 Haj.

Saudi Arabia had cut ties with Iran early in 2016 and banned its citizens from travelling there. The country clarified that cutting relations covered commercial ties while Iranian pilgrims would always be welcome in Saudi Arabia.

IANS